The United States is again a top supplier of beef to Japan, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service.
U.S. market share collapsed in 2004 after a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly referred to as “mad cow disease,” was detected in a cow shipped from Canada to the United States. In response, Japan placed an embargo on all U.S. and Canadian beef products. In 2006, Japan began phasing out the ban on U.S. beef and fully lifted it in May 2019. Over this period, U.S. beef imports rebounded nearly to pre-ban levels, shipping 233,000 metric tons to Japan in 2021.
The U.S. is now the second largest supplier of beef to Japan, behind Australia. Recently ratified trade agreements between Japan and these partner countries are expected to contribute to changes in Japan’s market for imported beef. Researchers estimate that by 2033, annual scheduled reductions in Japan’s import tariffs will increase imports of U.S. beef by 27 percent, or $413.8 million, from 2018 levels.